HOUSTON-Behringer Harvard Opportunity REIT I is under contract to buy the 206,500-sf headquarters building of Noble Energy Inc. in North Houston for $32.9 million from Commercial Developments International. If all goes as planned, Northborough Tower will be changing hands within 90 days.

According to an SEC filing, the Dallas-based REIT has gone hard on the deal with $1 million of earnest money. The 14-story class A tower and attached four-level parking garage are situated on 5.4 acres plus there’s an extra 2.3 acres of surface parking that opens the development door when the REIT or Noble Energy is ready to expand the campus at 100 Glenborough Dr. in the Greenspoint/North Belt office submarket.

Commercial Developments International bought the multi-tenant asset in February 2006 from Chicago-based Equity Office Properties Trust for $25 million to $30 million, according to published accounts. After adding its value, Commercial Developments returned its only Houston asset to the market in a no-ask offering headed up by Rudy Hubbard, managing director of Transwestern Houston, and associate Leah Gallagher.

Hubbard tells GlobeSt.com that the seller “added quite a bit of value” during the 20-month hold by converting the asset, which was 75% leased to Noble Energy, into a single-tenant building and extending the tenant’s lease by 11 years. The new pact won’t expire until 2018, he adds.

Northborough Tower was built in 1983 and renovated in 1991. “The building is in excellent shape,” Hubbard says.

The marketing team secured eight offers during a standard four-week marketing that collided head-on with the subprime credit crisis. “The owner wanted to close with the one who had the highest probability of closing. Getting a deal done in this environment is a major accomplishment,” Hubbard says. “Behringer Harvard can write a check. They don’t need debt.” Nonetheless, he says a loan assumption is in the works so it could take as long as three months for the deal to close.

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